How to Advertise Your Vehicle Online

How to Advertise Your Vehicle Online

There are approximately 2.4 million used vehicles sold in Canada each year (2010 figure), and approximately 1 million of those are private sale, or “for sale by owner” transactions.

Between just the two main online classified vehicle listing sites alone, on any given day there can be as many as 600,000 vehicles advertised for sale online.

In this highly competitive space, it is vital that our online vehicle advertising allows our vehicle to stand out!

Online Vehicle Merchandising Includes Three Components:
Title, Description, and Photo/Video content.

Titles are significant because on a search results page, where our vehicle shows up in a list with the vehicles of other private sellers and dealerships, it is a bold line of copy that basically acts like a keyword phrase for both optimization (in search engines, and also in some refinable areas of the inventory aggregator) and also to alert online shoppers to key differences that may impact which vehicles they consider.

Photo and video content help elicit an emotional response in the online space, which is key when we cannot be present to present our vehicle to a potential buyer in person, and must rely on images to forge a connection with the shopper.

Keyword Based Titles that Grab Attention

Don’t just list the year, make and model of the vehicle.

Insert an attribute that you think is the vehicle’s best selling feature, ie, if exceptionally low kilometer, put “Only XXX kms” in the title, if it has navigation or other special upgrades or features, mention that. If you have had the vehicle since new, put that in the listing title: “One Owner” is a status many vehicle shoppers look for online.

Make sure to insert at least one and up to three attributes, ie:

2011 Acura MDX only 9,760 kms + NAVIGATION and sports package!

Custom Vehicle Descriptions That Motivate Buyers

In each description, give the customer a reason to buy:

A) that make or model

B) that specific unit

C) from you!

For example:

A) The Ford Fusion is the winner of the NHTSA top safety pick for 2012.

B) This car has four new tires OR
This vehicle has never been involved in an accident OR
With 56,000 highway kilometers on it, this one comes with a low, low price too!

C) Owned this vehicle since new, always cared for and maintained it to factory specifications. Will be sad to see it go, but someone is going to love this vehicle and appreciate the care put into keeping it like new.

Private sellers often do a far better job of merchandising their vehicles than the dealers they compete against. This is probably because with only one car to consider, private sellers pay more attention to the unique features and benefits of their vehicle. Besides that, when you have driven the vehicle every day for the past 3, 4 or 5 years, you know it inside and out!

Photos Show What Words Can’t Say…

Nothing you can say about your vehicle will ever cause a potential buyer to fall in love. A well staged picture on the other hand, that can elicit auto affection immediately. People need to picture themselves in your vehicle, and to do that, they need a picture of your vehicle! Think glamour shot here, and make sure the vehicle is clean inside and out, and that you are taking photos in a clean area free of visual distractions. If possible, find a clear and moderately bright day to take outdoor photos. Aim for as many pics as the online listing site will let you post, some sites allow up to 35 shots. If there is a way to add video, always do: don’t worry about sounding and looking pro, just write yourself a short script of the keys elements shown as you walk around your vehicle, open the hood, trunk, and show the perspective from the driver’s door once opened and don’t forget the back seat. It’s okay if you are nervous, just talk clearly and slowly and try to sound like It’s important to you (lose the stand-up comedy routine, you don’t want to distract from the features of your vehicle).

Post your vehicle on as many local and regional sites as your time and budget permit. Many are free for private sellers, so it really is about taking the time to post your vehicle in a way that is right for the format of that particular site. To get an idea of where to list, try googling “car for sale by owner”, and add your city name, to see which portals rank highest. In general, Kijiji, Auto Trader, AutoCatch and have strong presence across Canadian major markets.
You can also try search phrases like “who buys used cars” to locate buying services in your area, like CarBuyCo, which serves most markets across Canada. At you can find out how much your vehicle might be worth and see how fast you could sell it and receive guaranteed corporate funds. Good luck, happy selling!